On the island of Bequia which is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. My family has been here for hundreds of years and that is an interesting feeling to connect as far back as great grandparents. It is a beautiful island and is part of the whole Grenadines chain of islands that include Mustique and Tobago Keys. Today we went to a beach that only locals go to and this poem below about that beach is part of an anthology which I’ve written on the island. Some of the pieces are lyrical and some comment on various aspects of the culture and lifestyle. I often feel sad since the island is changing as more and more rich foreigners come here to build houses. It is probably good for the local economy, however it has in some subtle, indefinable way changed the old place. I remember when Estelle was the only bread baker in town and she did that out of an old oil drum in the harbor. I remember when the three masted schooner Friendship Rose was the only ferry that came here. I remember when the few Americans that made it here were the intrepid, those that wanted a simple life without electric power and without the frills and the conveniences of modernity. Now huge houses loom over the simple landscape with infinity pools and multiple fancy bedrooms. Change is inevitable, but I can’t help being nostalgic for those old days, and when I hear the newbies chattering I find myself withdrawing into some kind of protective shell, like a snail that wants to stay very still and move very slowly away from them.
The feel of heat under my feet,
the sky like the underside of a shadow,
the wind moving the sea-grape leaves,
the spume of the ocean pushing up towards the rocks,
the smiling boys I have known all their lives
diving into the surf like sharp arrows
coming up for breath, human flotsam,
no separation between them and the white
and black of the ocean.
A tree bent like an old woman
held up against the wind
on a street corner.
Silence and the wash of it
lonely and warm,
I clasp my knees in adoration,
salt hair sticking to my lips.